AZ-103 is one of the newest exam that became available for taking about one month ago. It’s also one of the few exams that have been updated with real labs sections (or performance testing). What does it mean? The exam starts with usual questions, then goes labs where you have to complete tasks by using Azure Portal and Azure Cloud Shell inside of the exam’s subscription. I had about 15 lab tasks, 2 different lab sections with 6 and 9 tasks perspectively, and case studies after each of the labs. In short, it is a real brainstorm – when you think the exam ends, the next questions or labs appear out.
Honestly, it was the hardest exam I have ever had and took me almost 3 hours to get it finished (my personal record, by the way). Again, even though I passed on the first try, it was difficult! Why? I’d say time management is the big challenge, so be well prepared and expect some gotchas. Anyway, I’m extremely happy to see real labs in the exams as they can filter “dumpers” out and make certification more valuable to all of us.
How to prepare?
- Azure Subscription (trial at least)
- You must have a real experience in the commercial projects (mid-sized and higher). For example, I have been working with Azure for 3 years so far and now work with different projects related to Azure and DevOps.
- Use free online resources for preparation. Please check my post in order to get the list of all available high-quality and free training courses . I used Pluralsight (more than 40 hours), Udemy (AZ-300 paid course), Azure DevOps Labs, hands-on labs, official docs and study guides (MCT). So, I’ve being preparing for 2 months.
- Read about performance testing (sections with lab tasks). Some notes: time has been already extended to 180 mins for exams with performance testing, az-103 includes performance testing, choose Bash at the first launch of Azure Cloud Shell, and then switch to PowerShell, otherwise, storage for Cloud Shell won’t be created (just my experience) + add new resources on the resource group level rather than adding them from the main page using search bar or “Create Resource” on the left sidebar (faced with issue that I couldn’t get subscription/RGs list during resource creation, so I navigated to pre-created RG and completed all lab tasks from there)
- If you pass the exam successfully, the certification will be valid only for 2 years, so keep learning and practice every day! I wish you good luck on the exam and may the force be with you 🙂
Howdy, I would like to share the list of the extremely useful FREE courses with you which can help you to prepare for Azure exams and level up your skills in the most efficient way. Tons of videos, hands-on labs and text guidances. You just need to find a free time and passion, plus make sure that you have an active Azure subscription (trial is an option).
Note: “retired” = exam is no longer available but specified courses can still be a part of your preparation. “w/labs” = exam has performance sections (lab tasks), “enrollment is closed” = sometimes it happens. you should wait while the learning provider opens a new enrollment. Click on “check out my experience” where available to get more details. Plus, AZ-303/304 are coming soon
Learning Paths from Pluralsight (recommended)
Learning Paths from Microsoft (step-by-step guidances)
Microsoft/OpenedX self-paced courses (have some outdated materials)
AZ-100|Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment (retired)
AZ-101|Microsoft Azure Integration and Security (retired)
AZ-103|Microsoft Azure Administrator (w/labs; retired – see AZ-104)
AZ-104|Microsoft Azure Administrator (w/labs)
AZ-200|Microsoft Azure Developer Core Solutions (retired)
AZ-201|Microsoft Azure Developer Advanced Solutions (retired)
AZ-203|Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure (retired)
AZ-204|Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure (w/labs)
- All above mentioned in the AZ-2xx retired exams
- Pluralsight Developer role
- Microsoft Docs (see skills measured)
- Develop Azure compute solutions (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Develop for Azure storage
- Implement Azure Security
- Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Connect to and consume Azure, and third-party, services
AZ-300|Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies (w/labs)
AZ-301|Microsoft Azure Architect Design
AZ-400| Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions (w/labs)
AZ-500| Microsoft Azure Security Technologies (w/labs)
AZ-900| Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
DP-200| Implementing an Azure Data Solution (w/labs)
DP-201| Designing an Azure Data Solution
DP-100| Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure
There are also some free courses on EDX site (1 topic:1 course)
TIP: If you are not familiar with Azure Services, I’d highly recommend you to purchase pBook or download FREE ebook “Learn Azure in a Month Of Lunches” that I reviewed a few months ago. It’s a great all-in-one guide to get started with almost everything in Azure.
Happy learning and good luck with the exams!